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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  September 11, 2009 11:00pm-12:00am EDT

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impress that hell cat nancy pelosi. number seven, thought i was in the audience at "maury." >> you lie! >> in case you missed it, when the speech aired live, they didn't have a camera on the guy, but they went back and put the camera shot in. look at this. >> for those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants, this too is false. the reforms -- the reforms i'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally. >> you lie! >> oh, sorry, mr. president, i was talking about my favorite month, and it's not august, it's not september, it is july! >> you don't scream "you lie." remember the time, it happened to john mccain, remember when he hollered "bingo!" >> you don't stand up in the
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middle of congress and go, oh, no, you did not! what the hell is wrong with you. you know, he said, his emotions got the better of him. sometimes i want to have sex with a hooker, but i don't. >> that will do it for this edition of countdown. i'm lawrence o'donnell in for keith olbermann and now our msnbc coverage continues with the rachel maddow show. good evening, rachel. >> bingo! good evening, lawrence. thank you very much, great job tonight on "countdown." good to see you. >> thanks, rach. coming up this hour, we've got the latest on what may be the country's only known murder of an anti-abortion protester. it happened today in michigan. we've got that story ahead. and also, senator bob casey of pennsylvania will be joining us this hour. david serotta is on deck as well. but we begin tonight with the eighth anniversary of the
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attacks on the united states on september 11th, 2001. this year, the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is being marked by conservatives marching on washington in what they're calling the 9/12 movement. the 9/12 movement was conceived, and in a sense, is being led by this guy. >> you know, it took me about a year to start hating the 9/11 victims' families. it took me about a year. and i had such compassion for them, and i really -- you know, i wanted to help them and i was behind them -- you know, let's give them money, let's get started, all of this stuff. and i really didn't -- you know, all the 3,000 victims' families, i don't hate all of them. i hate about probably ten of them. but when i see 9/11 victim families, you know, on television or whatever, i'm just like, oh, shut up. i'm so sick of them. >> that's commentator glenn beck speaking on his talk radio show before he got his current gig as
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a tv host on the fox news channel. mr. beck is now promoting the 9/11 anniversary as a rallying point for what he calls his 9/12 movement. and at fox news, he's using the imagery of the 9/11 attacks, the smoking towers and wreckage of the world trade center to promote a 9/12 march on washington that is set to take place tomorrow. in other words, mr. beck has decided to form a movement around 9/11, to try to capture what we as a country felt after 9/11. presumably, minus the whole hating the victims' families things. while mr. beck and thousands of his followers march on d.c. tomorrow, it's still a little unclear as to what exactly they will be marching against, or for. today, dave weigel at the "washington independent" reports that organizers host what had they call an intellectual ammunition pre-tea party strategy workshop, which armed participants with quotes from ayn rand books. so maybe this is a 9/11 march
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for utopian capitalism. it's beyond the laying in of intellectual ammunition, other kickoff events for the 9/11 march can give us a further sense of what it is these folks are marching about. >> last night we heard our president address this country. >> boo! >> liar, liar, pants on fire. >> we were listening for specifics, we were listening to hear something new and we did not hear that. >> he lies! he lies! >> the man at the podium, not getting much of a word in edgewise between the screams of the president lied, lied, liar, liar! that was eric cantor of virginia. the liar, liar yelling is a tribute of sorts to south carolina republican congressman joe wilson. his "you lie" outburst at president obama during the president's address to congress is apparently becoming the right's new drill, baby, drill, sort of.
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as you can tell from the podium at which mr. cantor is standing, a main organizer of the 9/12 march this weeks is freedomworks. it's the grassroots organization headed up by dick armey. the march is also sponsored in part by a group we touched on on last night's show. they are the national association of rural land owners, or narlo. at narlo's website, you're informed that the second american revolution that has just begun. join it or buy a gun, because you are going to need it. just this summer, narlo posted online a video forecasting massive civil unrest, succession of the states, and then, yippee, a new american civil war. this is the way that the conservative movement is commemorating the anniversary of 9/11 this year.
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for context and for contrast, this is the sort of thing that the administration is doing to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 this year. >> every day, our brave troops and their families stand up for us. >> for years, we've asked so much of so few. >> now we have a chance to serve these heroes. >> to give time, offer comfort, or lend a hand. >> to ease the burden on a military family. >> let's honor their service by volunteering ours. >> in mainstream politics, that new psa you just saw, that's the sort of thing that's considered an appropriate political act to the 9/11 anniversary. there isn't much about 9/11 that's appropriate for politics, but that sort of thing, that's considered sort of an appropriate mainstream response. but in conservative politics today, 9/11 is instead being seen as an occasion for a march on washington that is co-sponsored by an organization that's called for the violent overthrow of the u.s.
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government. it may sound like an extreme description in any rational understanding of the range of american politics, it is quite extreme, but it's important to know about american politics right now that the conservatives attending these rallies aren't necessarily just the extreme. that was eric cantor, who you saw addressing a kickoff rally for the 9/12 movement. he's the second ranking republican in the house of representatives. standing at the freedomworks podium at the 9/12 kickoff event, receiving the "you lie" serenade as he rails against the president. in beltway common wisdom, eric cantor is supposed to be the poster boy for republican reasonableness, the counterweight to the fringe. republican congressman mike pence of indiana is seen as a potential republican presidential candidate in 2012. he is one of the scheduled speakers at the march on saturday. now, mr. pence is considered to be one of the more conservative potential gop presidential candidates in 2012, admittedly. a man who is supposed to be the big moderate among the
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republican 2012 hopefuls is minnesota governor tim pawlenty. mr. pawlenty is not scheduled to be at the 9/12 march, but he did make news this week for continuing to push the deathers theory about health reform on msnbc this morning and for yesterday declaring himself a tenther, arguing that maybe states should consider succeeding from any federal health reform effort. in a conference call sponsored by the republican governor's association last night, governor pawlenty endorsed texas governor rick perry's call for state sovereignty in the face of horrible federal overreach, like health reform. like mr. cantor, governor pawlenty is the guy who is supposed to represent moderation in the current republican party. moderation in the current republican party, now, apparently, encompasses advocating or flirting with the idea of states seceding from the union, disestablishing the country, in other words. if this counts as moderate, what counts as extreme now?
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actually, don't answer that. joining us now is mike lux. he's the cofounder and ceo of a consulting firm that's called progressive strategies. mr. lux, thanks very much for joining us tonight. >> thank you very much for having me, rachel. >> the reason i wanted to talk to you today about congressman joe wilson yelling at the president and the march on washington for the 9/11 anniversary this weekend is because you wrote at huffington post today that these developments on the right should be seen as sort of a modern variant of a specific kind of historical conservativism. you called it calhoun conservativism. what do you mean by that? >> well, john c. calhoun, the senator from south carolina, ironically, back in the 1830s to 1850s was the founder, really, of this modern conservatism. he married the idea of states' rights with a very virulent, racist, patriarchical conservativism and basically said states, you know, have the ability to do whatever they want to do, whenever they want to do it.
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they can secede from the union, they can nullify laws that are passed by the federal government. they can ignore the bill of rights if they want to. they can do whatever they want to do. >> do you think that this enthusiasm for secession that we're seeing now, not just from governor rick perry, but also from supposed moderates like governor tim pawlenty of minnesota, do you see it as not a random offshoot of other forms of extremism we're seeing right now. do you see it as central to this part of conservative philosophy? >> it is central to this type of conservative philosophy. i mean, ronald reagan back in the 1980 campaign kicked off his general election campaign by going to philadelphia, mississippi, a tiny little town far away from a media market in a state that he was going to win easily, and that was the town where cheney swharner and goodwin were murdered. and he gave a speech on extolling stit states' right.
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the old john c. calhoun states' rights. his quotes could have come out of john c. calhoun. this conservativism is very much a part of the modern republican party. >> but in terms of trying -- i think that states' rights -- and you're right, that it does surface in conservativism over time and time again, but what we're seeing right now, i'm trying to tie together the different surprising and radical seeming things that we're hearing from conservatives right now. it's succession, this tenth amendment stuff, it is the birther thing, the idea that the president is not legitimately the president. and it's also a form of tactical extremism and sort of disrespect toward federal authority. if there's a fundamental belief that succession is a good idea, the sort of extremism around states' rights, is there a connection between that and
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these other things. the basic idea that the federal government is an illegitimate source of authority right now? >> oh, absolutely. we're not seeing this talk of secession come up by accident. this is what these folks have always believed, but they're talking about it now with a new president, who they think is a terrible liberal and they're raising it right now because it really appeals to their base. the right-wing republican base that dominates the primary elections for the republican party, they love this stuff. they love disrespecting the president. they love disrespecting the federal government. they hate the government. and it's become really almost sociopathic. >> it is difficult, i have to say, to see this sort of anti-government, anti-u.s., in the sense of the succession stuff, being against the country, saying the country, tied to the 9/11 attacks, which were an attack on the united states, an attempt to do as much harm to this country as possible. it took more than 3,000 lives. i can't see a link between the type of conservativism that you're describing, and i think
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calhoun conservativism is a useful way to at least try to understand it, i can't see a link between that and violence to the u.s. government that is anything other than the obvious scary threat to have a link. do you see a connection? >> well, i think what the connection is is that the folks who are pushing this idea, their vision of america is a vision where it's controlled by the old-time, you know, white people, white men, wealthy people, that was john c. calhoun's vision of america. he didn't believe in democracy. he thought jefferson's idea of equality was a terrible idea and that's what these republicans think of. so when they see a -- frankly, when they see a black man as president of the united states, when they see immigrants coming into this country, they don't think of that as america anymore. it's like the country's been taken away from them and it
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makes them prone toward this kind of violence. >> mike lux, co-founder and ceo of the consulting form progressive strategies. thanks for writing that thought-provoking piece for huffington post today and thanks for joining us today. >> thanks, rachel. in order to punish south carolina representative joe wilson for screaming "you lie" during president obama's health care speech, some conservative democrats in the senate have decided to change the health care bill to make sure the screaming guys madeup concerns are addressed. that'll teach him. and i'm sure he'll vote for health reform now. that and other head shakingly dumb developments in the health care debate next. only one a day men's 50+ advantage... has gingko for memory and concentration. plus support for heart health. ( crowd roars ) that's a great call. one a day men's.
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it's much easier to find money at esurance. great auto insurance rates and lots of discounts! got insurance already? save more with esurance's "switch & save (tm) discount"! it also pays to shop online. you get esurance's "fast 5 (tm) discount" just for getting an instant online quote. - thanks, professor. - don't forget the good student discount. and there's even more discounts! it's no "secret" that you can save hundreds with esurance. make it your "mission" to click or call esurance today. today in michigan, a 33-year-old man named harlan drake is in custody, charged with two counts of first-degree premeditated murder as well as weapons charges. prosecutors say he's suspected of shooting to death a 61-year-old man who owned a gravel pit as well as a 63-year-old retired autoworker, who was well known for
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protesting against abortion in this part of michigan that's just outside of flynt. james poolhan was holding one of his graphic anti-abortion protest signs outside a high school when he was allegedly shot several times from a moving vehicle. witnesses, including some high school students, took down the license plate number of the vehicle from which the shots were fired. they reported it to police. police then found the suspect at home. he then reportedly confessed to the other murder at the gravel pit as well as the shooting at the school. now, a prosecutor randy colbry told the press he planned to kill a third man after the first two, a local realtor, but was arrested before he was able to carry out that attack. he had a grudge against these three individuals. the "detroit free press" is reporting that the suspect may have been the son of a former employee of the gravel pit owner who was killed. that victim, is not thought to have any ties to the
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anti-abortion movement or to any pro-choice group. that kill may, indeed, have been connected, however, to his anti-abortion activism. an assistant county prosecutor tells the "new york times" that the suspect disapproved of him protesting abortion in front of kids, saying, quote, there was some displeasure with how open he was. he tended to carry big signs with very graphic pictures of fetuses. he was offended by the manner of his pouillon's message. there is no indication that the suspect had any connection to the pro-choice movement. if it does turn out that this murder was motivated by enmess, i think that this would be america's only known ideologically motivated murder of an anti-abortion protester. a horrible turning of the tables
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after the last 20 years saw murderers motivated by their own anti-abortion views kill eight abortion doctors and abortion clinic staff and security guards. we will stay on this story. double-glazed baby back ribs with your choice of sauces. get one full-sized appetizer and two real entrees for just twenty bucks. it's 2 for $20. only at applebee's.
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if i had to guess, i would say that congressman joe wilson of south carolina is probably about nine minutes into his 15 minutes of fame. the 15 minutes of fame he earned for screaming at the president this week. >> the reform -- the reforms i'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally. >> you lie!
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>> not true. >> congressman wilson not only earned himself a death ray stareshutdown from the dais for that, his mom -- or, i'm sorry, john boehner did make him apologize for it. >> i, uh, last night heard from the leadership that they wanted me to contact the white house and state that my statements were inappropriate. i did. >> the president, for his part, said that he was happy to accept the congressman's apology. >> i'm a big believer that we all make mistakes. he apologized quickly and without equivocation and i'm appreciative of that. >> and it all might have ended right there. except that ever since his official apology, congressman wilson has dedicated himself to making sure everyone knows he was only apologizing for his bad
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manners, not for actually being completely wrong. >> i'm very grateful that the white house, in talking with them, they indicated that they appreciated the call and that we needed to have a simple discussion about the health care issues. i'm happy to discuss the health care issues. and in particular, on the issue that i think is very important, of whether the bills would include illegal aliens or not. indeed, the bills that are before congress would include illegal aliens. >> you know, i hate to rain on congressman wilson's me-me-me parade here, but the bills under consideration in congress don't provide coverage for illegal immigrants. they just don't. and yet, two conservative democratic senators, kent conrad of north dakota and max baucus of montana said after congressman wilson's scream heard around the world that they want to reconsider language in the bill that concerns illegal
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immigrants. according to reporting today in "time" magazine, senator conrad said after a thursday morning meeting, "we really thought we'd resolved this question of people who are here illegally, but as we reflected on the president's speech last night, we wanted to go back and drill down again." we thought it was resolved by the language that says, and i quote, "no illegal immigrants will benefit from the health care tax credits," that's on page four. but after that guy screamed at the president, we thought we should do more to make sure he was getting everything he wanted. yeah, senators conrad and baucus are not only rewarding the tactic that joe wilson used, they're also implying that joe wilson was right, and joe wilson was not right. what congress -- what senator baucus and senator conrad are doing here has a name. it's called caving, caving to a hysterical, phony, alarmist guy that screamed at the president and is now using the fact that he screamed at the president to raise campaign funds on the internet machine.
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and the cavinging is not limited to the senate, nor is it limited to the immigrant issue. why, for example, are the white house and democrats in congress now saying they would happily cave on the public option for health reform, agreeing without even a fight, including here on this show in my interview with david axelrod right after the president's speech, agreeing that they would happily subject the public option to a trigger. >> i believe that there'll be some sort of public option in the final legislation, whether it comes with a trigger or not, i don't know. >> when you hear "public option with a trigger," think "we're never actually going to get a public option." why are they doing this? joining us now to explain is syndicated columnist david sirota. his column out today concerns the so-called trigger mechanism. david, great to have you back on the show. thanks for coming back. >> thanks for having me, rachel.
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>> you make the case today in your column that adding a trigger mechanism to health care reform essentially means giving up on the public option. why do you make that case? >> because we know that the history of triggers in legislation, both health care legislation and budget legislation, trigger is a euphemism for killing a bill. the most recent example of this is actually on a health care reform bill. prescription drug importation. allowing americans to import prescription drugs from other industrialized nation. every other industrialized nation has allowed its citizens to import prescription drugs. what happened was this bill had wide, popular support, just like the public option, and what ended up happening was the pharmaceutical industry convinced the leadership of the congress and both the clinton and the bush administration to put in a trigger that basically said that the bill could only go into effect in the hhs secretary said that prescription drugs from other countries were safe. now, what ended up happening was, of course, the hhs
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secretary did not pull that trigger. not because the drugs aren't safer. i mean, as governor tim pawlenty, the governor of minnesota said, he said, if they're unsafe, where are the dead canadians? they didn't pull the trigger because the health industry put the trigger in to make sure it wouldn't be pulled, just like in the public option debate, the insane insurance lobbyists are working with the same white house and democratic officials to put in a trigger to make sure that there is no public option. >> so you're saying that the trigger is something that is sort of understood inside the beltway, understood in washington, as a way to seem like you're saying yes to something, but also as a way to make sure it never has to happen. >> that's exactly right. what happens, again, the public option is as popular, probably
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more popular as polls show ed drug importation to be. so what the trigger did on importation, like it would do on the public option, it would allow legislators to say that they're voting for the public option, but really voting for something that -- whose language makes sure that what they say they're voting for, what their press releases say they're voting for, what they're going to be celebrating voting for, actually doesn't become a reality. >> it seems doubtful that any kind of reform is going to get republican votes anyway, david. so why do you think the white house is proactively offering up a compromise like this? why are democratic senators proactively offering to do something like this? do they really not want a public option at all, or is this a preemptive caving to republicans that aren't going to come their way anyway? >> well, you've got two messages coming out of the white house. one, that the democrats in the congress should go it alone. the other, that the democrats in the congress should water down the bill to get republican votes. obviously, those two messages don't make sense. if you're going to go it alone, why water down the bill? the answer is is because the
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white house and the democratic leadership doesn't want to go after conservative corporate democrats who are tied to the insurance industry. the max baucuses of the world. so while president obama will sort of attack or criticize progressives a little bit in his speech and he'll go after republicans in his speech, he doesn't seem interested, he doesn't seem courageous enough to go after the real obstacle in this debate, which are the conservative corporate democrats, the max baucuses who have taken millions and millions and millions of dollars from the industries that don't want a public option. >> syndicated columnist david sirota, thanks so much for joining us tonight. i feel like i understand better than ever why it is that progressives in congress who have taken a stand for the public option say they don't want a trigger. thanks for helping us understand it, david. appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. the nation's capitol and everyone watching cnn's reporting about the nation's
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capitol this morning, freaked out after really alarming reports that there were shots fired and a coast guard action on the potomac, not long from the time and place that the president crossed over that river in a motorcade today. it does turn out in the end, that all's well, except, of course, for the systems breakdown that caused the totally inappropriate freakout both in washington and on the tv machine. that story is next. stay with us. but first, one more thing about joe wilson's newfound notoriety. while blurting a fact-free insult at the president of the united states during an address to congress has not led to joe wilson being censured or ousted from congress or anything, there is a boomerang of sorts that's heading back towards him. his opponent in the next election is a democratic iraq war veteran named rob miller. and in the 48 hours since joe wilson survived the death stare from nancy pelosi and the president, rob miller's campaign reports he has received more than 25,000 individual donations totalling more than $1 million. before all this happened, he had about $60,000-something in the bank. and in wilson's conservative home district, a new poll also shows today that mr. miller is leading the incumbent, wilson, but a single point. karma really is something that rhymes with itch.
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we have all this energy here in the u.s. we have wind. we have solar, obviously. we have lots of oil. i think natural gas is part of the energy mix of the future. i think we have the can-do. we have the capability. we have the technology. the solutions are here. we just need to find them here. we're shopping for car insurance, and our friends said we should start here. good friends -- we compare our progressive direct rates, apples to apples, against other top companies, to help you get the best price. how do you do that? with a touch of this button. can i try that? [ chuckles ] wow! good luck getting your remote back. it's all right -- i love this channel. shopping less and saving more. now, that's progressive. call or click today.
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why is dick butkus here? i hired him to speak. a lot of fortune 500 companies use him. but-- i'm your only employee. we're gonna start using fedex to ship globally-- that means billions of potential customers. we're gonna be huge. good morning! you know business is a lot like football... i just don't understand... i'm sorry dick butkus. (announcer) we understand. you want to grow internationally. fedex express
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senator bob casey of pennsylvania joins us in just a few minutes. he is just back from afghanistan. plus, a classical music moment of geek for your listening pleasure. music and lyrics inspired by donald rumsfeld. and kent jones has a special "weak in review" vinvestigative report. he lies! all that is still ahead. first, it's time for a
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couple of holy mackerel stories in today's news. earlier today in washington, d.c., a suspicious exchange was heard over an open radio frequency, a frequency that can be picked up by any commercially available radio scanner. cnn was tipped off and they listened in. here's the transcript of that radio transmission as recorded by cnn. "you're approaching a coast guard security zone. if you don't stop, your vessel will be fired upon. stop your vessel immediately. if you don't slow down and stop your vessel and leave our zone, you will be fired upon. still in the zone, still in the zone. and then someone saying, bang, bang, bang. we have expended ten rounds, the vessel is operating at stern. we're going to reassess the situation. the security zone mentioned here is a section of the potomac river in washington, very near the pentagon where the president had just attended a 9/11 memorial service. crucially, cnn says it contacted a spokesperson for the coast guard after hearing this and the
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spokesperson told cnn that she was unaware of any training exercise going on in the area. and yet, it was clear from this video that coast guard vessels will certainly doing something beneath the memorial bridge, over which the president's motorcade had recently passed. so cnn says they called again and again a spokeswoman with the coast guard told them that its national command center and other command posts knew nothing about the exercise. so the network went on air, showing the video of those coast guard vessels and reporting what it had heard over the radio. the federal aviation administration, the faa, because of those reports, grounded all flights at reagan national airport from about 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., on september 11th. yeah, scary, right? and ultimately, it was a false alarm. this was a routine coast guard training exercise, one the coast guard apparently practices about four times a week. no shots were fired.
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situation, normal. communication, however, really, really, really, really, fouled up. yet despite the error, apparently originating inside the government, at least between government agencies, and not at all with the news media, which covered the story, it seems, responsibly, the white house responded by blaming the messenger. >> some of the people that reported that incident might have taken a little bit of time to check and see whether what they were reporting was accurate. >> cnn says they did check. cnn, in fact, says that they checked twice. the exercise was ordered by the coast guard sector baltimore. it appears that coast guard headquarters was never informed, neither was the secret service, nor the d.c. police department, nor the police department's harbor patrol, nor the fbi. eight years ago today, a catastrophic breakdown in communication between government agencies led to tragically delayed responses to what was a very real terrorist attack. we were supposed to have
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remedied the communication between agencies problems, in part by creating the ginormous department of homeland security. wasn't that supposed to have helped? what we got, instead of a remedy today, was a promise from homeland security secretary janet napolitano that there will be a full investigation. we all certainly hope so. finally, i will admit that constitutionally, i am better at finding clouds in silver linings than the other way around. but some folks seem to have found the upside of the potentially apocalyptic dark cloud that is global warming. you know how the ice caps are melting and huge icebergs are breaking off from the coast and that may be causing sea levels to rise and you know how if this continues, it would be catastrophic to coastal regions around the world? well, the other side effect of less ice and more open water is that it's totally going to be easier to sail between europe and asia. yeah. two german ships are about to
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complete the first-ever voyage from south korea to the netherlands via an arctic short cut called the northeast passage. these vessels were accompanied by a big russian ice breaker ship, but so far they haven't needed any help from the ice breaker. this year is shaping up to have the third lowest amount of ice on record, just behind 2007 and 2008. that said, the northeast passage isn't quite ready to be a shipping super highway. it is still pretty icy, even if they haven't needed the russian ice breakers. but if we do just commit ourselves to leaving our hummers running 24 hours a day and making competitive coal burning a national pastime, we could be traveling to china on jet skis in no time. tonight we have an extremely prilosec otc.
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prilosec otc. heartburn gone. power on. tonight we have an extremely specific update from the war in afghanistan. 4 1/2 months ago on this show, we did this next story in our misinformation segment. check it out. the ken sunshine of pakistan, but has a reputation for being about as well informed as baghdad bob was. today he blamed the taliban's anger on, quote, western white women who take up arms and come from 20,000 miles away to fight against us here.
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considering that the circumference of the earth is only about 25,000 miles and the distance from ft. reilly, kansas, to bagram air force base in afghanistan, even if you round up is less than 8,000 miles, i'm guessing that he thinks we take a very zig zaggy journey to get to afghanistan and pakistan. well, we now have a big update. the pakistani military today announced that he has been arrested. his name is muslim khan. he's a taliban spokesman and he was apparently picked up by pakistani forces along with four other taliban commanders. this announcement come on the same day of this anniversary of al qaeda attacking america, which, of course, prompted our military action in afghanistan that continues today. the top commander of u.s. and nato forces in afghanistan, general stanley mcchrystal, told reporters yesterday, quote, i do not see indications of a large al qaeda presence in afghanistan now.
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which is good. but which also means that the one thing everybody pretty much agreed made the war in afghanistan worth fighting doesn't exist now and we're still there. as we absorb that rather incredible assessment from general mcchrystal, senator carl levin of michigan, the chairman of the senate armed services committee, who has just returned from afghanistan, he took at the senate floor today and offered this assessment of how the u.s. might establish a viable national government in afghanistan. >> by supporting a far more rapid growth in the afghan army and police, by providing more trainers more quickly, by a rapid infusion of two afghan units of equipment no longer needed in iraq and by rapidly adopting a plan for the reintegration of lower-level taliban fighters into afghan society that we should implement those steps before considering
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an increase in u.s. ground combat forces beyond what is already planned by the end of the year. >> senator levin's position that the u.s. should pause before committing more troops on the ground, that we should invest in afghanistan's forces rather than adding more of our own, it coincides with recent calls, specifically from senator russ feingold of wisconsin for the establishment of a time line for u.s. troop withdrawals from afghanistan. what we're doing there either isn't working, in terms of the central government and the taliban, or it has already worked, in terms of al qaeda no longer being there. the u.s. military command, including president obama, now follows the task of justifying continued military presence in the country that's considered the graveyard of empires or coming up with a way to bring our troops home. now joining us now is bob casey. senator casey, thanks very much for being here. >> rachel, thank you. great to be with you tonight.
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>> you were in afghanistan and pakistan during the august recess, i know. in very basic terms, what do you understand our military mission there to be right now? >> well, fundamentally, i think, rachel, you saw it in senator levin's great statement today and you saw it in what president obama said a couple of months ago, which is, first of all, to disrupt, dismantle, and al qaeda. but also to focus on turning over the responsibility of governance and also security to the afghan forces, both the police, the afghan national police as well as the afghan army. but, especially, the afghan government in terms of their ability to control and govern their own country. so that's, i think that's a fundamental mission. i think we're just at the beginning of it in terms of what general mcchrystal is trying to
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do, the counterinsurgency part of this, which he's only, i guess, about two to three months into right now. >> when i look at the proposals for what would be needed in terms of afghan security forces, both police and border and military forces in order to really maintain control of that country so that it's not taken over by what we would consider to be insurgent forces that would have the power to project their wishes internationally, it's hundreds of thousands of security forces that we're looking at needing to be sustained in afghanistan. i think about that number next to what i imagine is budget of a country like afghanistan and it seems like there's kind of a mismatch there. how is afghanistan ever going to be able to sustain what we think they need in order to keep themselves and ourselves safe? >> well, one thing i learned in the time i was in both pakistan and afghanistan on this trip, and i was also there in may of
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2008, with carl levin, is that despite the criticisms, and i'd leveled some of them against president karzai, and we can talk about that as well. despite that, some of his main line ministries, in other words, the defense minister, mr. wardoch, a commander in the afghan army over the years and a leading military figure there, as well as mr. atmar, who heads the military and the police, they feel confident they can get to these numbers. now, the debate now, and you can see it in carl levin's statement today, the debate to get to 240,000 afghan national army and 160,000 afghan national police force, to get to those numbers won't be easy, but they believe they can get there. the question is, can they get there in 2012 like carl levin wants them to and thinks they can, or will it be 2013, as they would assert? i agree with carl. i think before any consideration
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of a troop increase, we should make sure that we accelerate and use every possible resource to get the afghan national army up, to get the police number up, and to help them with training and equipment. i think carl levin made a very important statement today in terms of giving us the kind of policy we need to go forward. >> briefly, senator, just to be clear, if they weren't able to meet those goals, if they weren't able to get those numbers to what you would be comfortable, would that mean that we wouldn't send more troops? >> well, we have to assess that as we go. and i think sometimes the debate in the last couple of weeks has been about troop levels kind of premature in this sense. we don't have a proposal yet from the administration for more troop increase. i know there's speculation. neither do we have it from general mcchrystal. so in terms of what's before the
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american people, i don't think we're there yet. but i think carl levin made a great statement today and we should use his wisdom and experience and integrity to inform this debate. >> senator bob casey, democrat of pennsylvania, thanks very much for joining us tonight. i always enjoy discussing these issues with you, sir. >> thank you, rachel. congressman joe wilson, were the known as "you lie," his outburst is inspiring a new rallying cry among many republicans. ahead on "countdown," is rudeness the new civility? and next on this show, you ever listen to donald rumsfeld and heard music? you will, next. could someone toss me an eleven sixteenths wrench over here?
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there's plenty of popular art about politics, from rappers like eminem criticizing george w. bush. far less common is high art derived from american politics. we came across one example of high political art a few weeks ago. it was the gonzalez contota. . >> i do not recall -- i don't recall the conversation. i don't recall whether or not i was present. in fact, i probably wasn't. i do not recall. ♪
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>> i don't recall. i don't recall. i don't recall. >> the young composer behind that masterful piece of art, lists among her musical influences john adams and phil klein. in 1987, john adamss composed on opera called "nixon in china" portraying nixon's 1972 trip to china. >> your flight was smooth i hope? >> oh, yes, smooth. it was very pleasant. >> it was very pleasant. back in 2004, phil klein released a trilogy of rumsfeld
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songs making music from the inadvertent poetry of rumsfeld. we took the liberty of slicing klein's music to the original sound bites from mr. rumsfeld. ♪ ♪ as we know there are known knowns ♪ ♪ >> there are things we know we know. there are no unknowns. there are things we now know we don't know. but there are also unknowns unknowns. the ones we don't know we don't know. and each year, we discover a few more of those unknown unknowns. and it sounds like a riddle. >> still six years later
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brilliant. that's tonight's moment of geek. low politics and high art. we put links to phil klein's songs, john adams's opera and melissa's contata on msnbc.com. my identity was stolen when i was eight years old,
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30 days to try lifelock absolutely free. call now and mention id. call now or go to lifelock.com. ♪ jones with the "weak in review." >> wednesday night, i think we experienced what could accurately be called a classic for "weak in review." let's look at it again. >> the reforms -- the reforms i'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally. >> you lie! >> joe wilson. weak. >> we did some investigating and it turns out joe wilson has been doing this way more than we

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